Headlines: November 5th, 2002

Councils are being encouraged by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to think about moving public counters away from the town hall and into one stop super shops. Developments would be funded through the public finance initiative and proposals must reach the ODPM by 3rd January 2003.Super shops provide for a range of public services to be delivered under one roof. Retail outlets can also be included in schemes. This multi-agency approach to service delivery can make services more accessible to local communities and at the same time open up synergies flowing from co-locating services. Super shops can also contribute to diversity by meeting the needs of people with disabilities and those whose first language is not English.

Pilot super shop projects in the pipeline include a number of combinations made up from primary, community and family health care; nursery/creche; family support; day care; rehabilitation; youth services; Inland Revenue; Benefits Agency; Employment Service; enterprise centers; adult education; community policing; housing services; community and training rooms; citizens advice bureau; sympathetic retailers, utilities and financial services.

Proposals for super shops will have to demonstrate how services would be delivered in a joined up way, beyond the joining up that would come with co-location. They will also have to include an assessment of the level of commitment shown by elected council members, together with details of the skills and experience they would be bring to the project and the extent of external support that would have to be bought in.